NEWS & ANALYSIS

UJ must terminate relationship with Ben Gurion - NEHAWU

Union accuses university of actively collaborating with the Israeli Defence Force

NEHAWU URGES THE UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG MANAGEMENT TO TERMINATE THEIR REALATIONSHIP WITH THE BEN GURION UNIVERSITY OF ISRAEL

NEHAWU the revolutionary and progressive public sector union calls on the University of Johannesburg{UJ} management to terminate their relationship with the Israel's Ben Gurion University{BGU}. The union mindful of our own country's history and the role that international solidarity played in ending South Africa's apartheid regime is convinced that all of us in this country have a particular responsibility to take seriously the struggles of others who face similar conditions of racial oppression and economic exploitation that we have known.

NEHAWU supports the call from students, academics and numerous prominent individuals, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for UJ to terminate its apartheid-era relationship with Israel's Ben-Gurion University (BGU). BGU is a university that actively collaborates with the Israeli Defense Force, by offering special privileges and services to the army. It has consistently refused to oppose the Israeli government's attempts to silence academics that support sanctions against Israel and so it is a much compromised institution whose reputation and credibility are in tatters.

Ben Gurion University has not shown any willingness to comply with the conditions that were set and with the deadline of the 1st of April 2011 fast approaching the University of Johannesburg needs to act swiftly. The university had demanded that the BGU must ensure that their research projects" will not entail any activity, including teaching and research, which has any direct or indirect military implications or contributes to the abuse of human rights" It was also demanded that" one or more Palestinian universities" must be included in the existing UJ-BGU agreement if relations were to continue.

Although there is a well financed propaganda machinery that is trying to justify the abuse and victimization of Palestinians their struggle for freedom and justice needs to be told and defended by those in our country who are grateful for the freedoms we have.

There are a lot of people who sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to fight against the apartheid regime and that is a legacy we need to preserve and cherish. We are not free as long as there are still people who are oppressed around the world and evil triumphs when good people say and do nothing.

NEHAWU has been following the UJ Petition (www.ujpetition.com) closely and adds it voice of support for this righteous and noble cause and we remind the UJ management that this country and the world is crying for principled people and  institutions who will boldly  show courage in their decision-making processes.

UJ leadership can take this decision by simply following through with the resolution adopted by its own Senate to end this relationship.

Palestinian teachers and students go through checkpoints everyday on their way to school, universities are abruptly closed therefore disrupting the learning for Palestinian children. Over the top security measures like being forced to produce identity documents when you want to pass certain areas is a daily occurrence. This is used as a systematic web of humiliation, provocation and dispossession. This is accompanied by indiscriminate use of violence all in the name of security. Our position is that there can be no security without justice and where anarchy is law revolution is in order.

Statement issued by Sizwe Pamla, NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer, March 8 2011

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